Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
April 16, 2017
Is the story of the resurrection a fairy tale?
You are not alone if you have thought the story of the resurrection of Jesus is a fairy tale. Even devout believers sometimes wonder if what the Bible says is actually true. It seems impossible that a man killed on Friday could walk out of his grave three days later. And in every age there are those who insist the resurrection of Jesus was a hoax.
James Cameron, director of the movie Titanic, filmed a recent documentary about “The Jesus Family Tomb.” Cameron wants us to believe that two stone ossuaries (bone boxes) found in Jerusalem contain the bones of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. But he offers no convincing proof of the identity of the bones.
Frank Morrison, an attorney, was taught to question everything and to reach a logical conclusion. Convinced that the resurrection was a fairy tale with a happy ending, Morrison determined to write a book proving that the resurrection was a myth. But after extensive study he reached a different conclusion. The weight of evidence compelled him to conclude that Jesus really was raised from the dead.
Tour the world and you can visit the graves where the bodies of famous people were buried. Annually one million people visit the grave of Abraham Lincoln who was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. After attempts were made to steal Lincoln’s body, his coffin was encased in four thousand pounds of concrete ten feet deep beneath a rock slab.
Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and you can see the impressive sarcophagus in which is buried the body of the Duke of Wellington. In honor of his victory over Napoleon, the Duke is dressed in his striking military regalia.
In India we visited the Taj Mahal, a marvelous mausoleum built by Shah Jahan to house the body of his favorite wife, Mamtaz, who died young while giving birth to their 14th child.
What makes Christianity unique is the empty tomb. There is no body in the place where Jesus was buried because he was raised from the dead by the power of God. The tomb is empty!
Read the New Testament and you learn that the message of the resurrection was the great theme of the preaching of the apostles. On the day of Pentecost, when the church was born, the man who had lied about even knowing Jesus stood and preached about the resurrection. Peter boldly proclaimed, “God has raised this Jesus to life and we are all witnesses of the fact.” No longer a coward, Peter cried, “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ!”
The three thousand people who were saved at Pentecost became millions and for more than 20 centuries the followers of Christ have been willing to die rather than renounce their faith in the resurrection of Jesus.
I love the story of Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin. He was a powerful Russian Communist leader during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. In 1930 Bukharin traveled from Moscow to Kiev to address a huge assembly on the subject of atheism. For one hour he snarled one insult after another at Christianity. Finishing his talk, he asked if there were any questions. Deafening silence filled the auditorium but soon one man walked up to the microphone. He looked the crowd over silently, then shouted the ancient greeting known well in the Russian Orthodox Church, “Christ is Risen!” The crowd rose to their feet and shouted a thundering response, “He is Risen Indeed?”
So on this resurrection day dig a grave for your doubt and bury it deep. Then join the chorus of Christ followers who in faith dare to believe Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah! + + +